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the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Silphidae (carrion beetles)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Arthopoda > Mandibulata > Atelocerata > Panhexapoda > Hexapoda > Insecta (insects) > Dicondyla > Pterygota > Metapterygota > Neoptera > Eumetabola > Holometabola > Coleoptera (beetles) > Polyphaga > Superfamily: Staphylinoidea

Fairly large beetles, 7 - 45 mm long, usually blue-black in colour. The elytra are ribbed longitudinally and not cover the entire abdomen, exposing 1-4 abdominal segments. They feed mainly on carrion but some are known to feed on snails or are plant feeders. There are three known species in southern Africa.

One of three species in southern Africa

Thanatophilus mutilatus


Thanatophilus mutilatus, 12mm. [image by M. Picker & C. Griffiths , from Field Guide to Insects of South Africa, used with permission].


Page by Margie Cochrane